Independent Musicians Are Struggling With Mental Health At A Shocking Rate

By Beth Leipholtz 05/17/19

A new survey revealed that 73% of independent musicians have dealt with mental health issues. 

independent musicians

Mental health is a concern across the population as a whole, but a recent survey found it is especially prevalent among musicians. 

A new study determined that 73% of independent musicians have reported struggling with mental health at some point in the past, stating that they have dealt with “stress, anxiety and/or depression” connected to their work. This was particularly true in those aged 18-25—more than 80% reported struggling with mental health.    

The statistics come from Record Union, a digital distribution platform based in Sweden. The web survey was given to about 1,500 indie musicians from March 21 to April 2. 

"Our study is telling us that something needs to change," Record Union CEO Johan Svanberg said in a statement published on “It's time to put the state of our artists' mental health on the agenda, before streams and commercial success. We as an industry must wake up and ask ourselves: What's our responsibility in this and what can we do to create a healthier music climate?"

Additionally, the survey determined that of those surveyed, 33% dealt with panic attacks, 57% reported worrying about their mental health and 41% said they worried numerous times daily. Musicians reported that the "pressure to deliver" played a role in their experience, as well as fearing failure and struggling financially.

Despite the large amount of musicians that reported struggling, only 39% said they had reached out for help. However, 51% reported mainly using alcohol and drugs to self-medicate. 

The survey also found that only 19% of independent musicians felt that the industry is trying to generate a “sustainable music climate with healthy artists.”

As a result of the study, Record Union will be donating $30,000 to various projects focused on prevention and treatment of mental health struggles in musicians. 

People are invited to submit projects to be considered for financial assistance. The projects will be voted on in June, and three winners will be chosen to split the $30,000.

“The music industry has traditionally been defining success on commercial terms," Svanberg told Billboard. "To be seen as successful you need to reach high sales and tour goals. It’s always money first. To create a more sustainable music climate with healthier artists, we believe that this needs to change and that artists need to start thinking about their mental health as part of the success.”

Please read our comment policy. - The Fix

Beth is a Minnesota girl who got sober at age 20. By day she is a website designer, and in her spare time she enjoys writing about recovery at, doing graphic design and spending time with her boyfriend and three dogs. Find Beth on LinkedInInstagram and Twitter.